Live Review: Gutlocker w/Sore Teeth, Bring The Onslaught and GOAD at The Facebar in Reading!

After a phone call warning of something unterward about to go down at The Facebar in Reading tonight, the cops have setup a perimeter and blocked all entrances and exits. Emergency Vehicles have been primed and readied to clean up the debris as the venue is set to be reduced to rubble by four bands with a bloodlust for headbanging and a love of witnessing Mosh pits go off. One of the bands is playing their first show in two years. One is  playing their first ever show and another is preparing to declare War on the World with a new album waiting in the wings.

First to take to the stage are four piece Metalcore merchants Bring The Onslaught [7/10] who are that band performing for the first time since some major Global event. Can’t think what that could have been. The riff slingers are armed and dangerous tonight as they blast through cut after cut with “Black & Grey” and “Far From Over” being real highlights. However despite being well versed and musically razor sharp, there are a few strained moments in those clean vocal parts and the odd bit of misplaced feedback. Perhaps it’s return to the stage nerves but given how good everything else is, there really shouldn’t be any.

Next up are the band playing the first ever show. A trio going by the name GOAD [7/10] they are greeted by the first Mosh pit of the night. Combining funky 5 string bass and 8 string guitars with the kind of Groove that makes “The Darker Side Of Nonsense” by Dry Kill Logic a great record, they will probably find that they need to cut down some of the extended instrumental passages within each of their tunes later on but for now, they work very well. It’s all about the pummelling rhythms with a hint of Stoner and even Grunge in their Post Metal offerings so we await with baited breath their first recorded works.

Last time we had the pleasure of a set from Sore Teeth [8/10] they were a very different animal to the one that stands before us tonight, having made the decision to add a second guitarist to their ranks. Now a quartet they’ve not only beefed up their Nails inspired Hardcore brutality that delivers the kind of rhythmic pummelling that we need in our lives because we’re sadists but they’ve also added a plethora of lead guitar work. So while cuts like “This Is Our Core” remain relatively untouched and as caustic as ever, especially vocally, the likes of “Salvation” has been given what can only be described as a face lift by those extra riffs, taking them in more of a Crossover Thrash direction than a pure Hardcore one. The set is blistering and the pace has been set for the headliners as we wait to see what the new material from Sore Teeth has to offer in this new direction.

It has to be said that tonight is all about Gutlocker [9/10] who are armed an dangerous with a new album mixed and mastered by Lewis Johns at The Ranch Production House waiting in the wings. They’ve got a wealth of shows booked around the release with the date not yet announced and so have made the decision to play a 45 minute set loaded with new material and give us our first listen to most of it in all its glory. As you might expect we get big riff after big riff and groove laden rhythmic prowess clearly inspired by the likes of Pantera, Lamb Of God and Alice In Chains as they deliver a barnstorming performance with frontman Craig McBerty the mouthpiece that demands audience participation from the very start. Handclaps, headbanging and mosh pits go off despite the freshness of these tunes which doesn’t sound like it should be the case on paper, but hey, reality is often stranger than fiction. Both his vocal performance and stage presence are a vital cog in the wheel of the band who are on the march of perpetual forward motion towards Metal Nirvana on tonight’s evidence as everything packs a punch. There is however time for a blistering rendition of “Bitter Memory” and from their 2018 EP “Cry Havoc” before they close the set with crushing new single “S.F.S” which annihilates the audience. There are cheeky calls for one more song from one or two drunken souls however out of time and looking physically drained from the expenditure of such a high octane performance, sadly it can not be.

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